Joaquin Phoenix Is Scared Shitless of Playing The Joker

We can see where he's coming from here.

In a new interview over at Collider, Joaquin Phoenix has finally broken his silence on Todd Phillips' long-in-the-works Joker origin movie, which Phoenix will begin shooting later this year. Perhaps not surprisingly, he has quite a bit to say.

For starters, the actor says he spent a lot of time mulling over the role and getting to know Phillips, who Phoenix calls "very impressive":

“I take a lot of time and consideration when making decisions and what I’m gonna work on always. So, in some ways, the process, which is obviously reading a script and meeting a filmmaker and then continuing to have meetings and discussions with Todd [Phillips]. I think he’s very impressive and he seems to have a very interesting understanding of this world and what he’s trying to say. And so there is something very appealing about that and working with him on this particular project."

As for taking on one of the most iconic characters in all of pop culture, Phoenix feels the same way any reasonable performer might feel - absolutely goddamn terrified:

"It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.”

He also cautions fans not to expect another standard-issue superhero joint: as we learned during the official announcement of the project earlier this week, Phillips' Joker film sounds like it's going to be something much different.

“I wouldn’t quite classify this as like any genre. I wouldn’t say it’s a superhero movie, or a studio movie or a … It feels unique, and I think more then anything, and probably the most important thing, is Todd seems very passionate about it and very giving, and so that’s exciting. I think, underneath the excitement of these films, and the size of them, there are these incredible characters that are dealing with real life struggles. And sometimes that is uncovered and exposed, and sometimes it isn’t, and so I always felt, like, there were characters in comics that were really interesting and deserve the opportunity to be kind of studied. And so I think that’s what Todd sees appealing about this idea." 

Y'know what? We give Warner Bros. a fair amount of sass-mouth around these parts for their seeming inability to get a proper plan in place for the DCU (look, you write up 5,000 conflicting news stories and see how you feel), but I gotta admit: I'm sorta coming around on this project. Somewhere in between the very limited budget ($55M), everything Phoenix has to say in this Collider interview (read the rest here), and everyone involved's insistence that this one's gonna be kinda weird, I'm finding myself curious where I was once dismissive.

How about you folks? Think Phoenix is right to have the shit scared out of him? Think there's any chance this movie's gonna work? Think I'm insane for being interested? Sound off in the comments below.